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Ebola aid stranded at Sierra Leonian port

Ebola aid stranded at Sierra Leonian port
October 07
16:37 2014

Despite recording as many as five cases every hour and 121 deaths in a single day, a container of aid materials aimed to help in the fight against Ebola outbreak is stranded at a Freetown port due to conflicting political interests in Sierra Leone.

The shipment, which was reported to be worth as much as $500,000 (N 82,260,000), has in it support materials including mattresses, stretchers and health worker protection kits.

Speaking with the BBC, an opposition politician said the government of the day was refusing to clear it. This was in contrast with a statement by the health ministry that the delivery was approved two weeks ago, and casts an unclear image on the reasons why the aid had not been moved from port to places in dire need of it.

The shipping container row erupted after a fierce critic of President Bai Koroma said the government had refused to pay the necessary duty on the aid delivery. Chenor Bah told the BBC that government officials had said they would not pay the $6,000 fee required for the items.

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A spokesman for the health ministry, Yahyah Conteh, explained that the government does not normally pay shipping fees for aid donors, but since this was an exception, the fees were paid two weeks ago.

In Sierra Leone, the Ebola death toll is at least 678.

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